UQ was awarded a total of 77 health and medical research grants today
UQ was awarded a total of 77 health and medical research grants today
17 October 2014

Australia’s first Centre of Research Excellence in Chronic Kidney Disease will be established at The University of Queensland with a $2.5 million grant announced today.

The grant featured in today’s National Health and Medical Research Council award of almost $52 million to UQ researchers, from $580 million announced for projects, fellowships and centres across Australia.

Professor Wendy Hoy, from UQ’s School of Medicine, will lead the new kidney research centre, which has been funded for five years.

“This centre’s research program, incorporating most public health systems nationwide, appears to be the most comprehensive chronic kidney disease research program internationally,” Professor Hoy said.

“There is not quite such a model anywhere else.”

Professor Hoy said kidney disease was a huge and growing issue in the indigenous community and across the wider population.

“It precedes almost all end-stage kidney failure, and this leads to renal replacement therapy – dialysis – or death,” she said.

“Dialysis costs pose an immense burden on the Australian health care system and, with current trends, soon will be unsupportable.”

She said there were significant gaps in knowledge about chronic kidney disease.

“There is no targeted data collection and analysis; optimal care pathways are still being defined; and predictors of kidney disease progression and links with cardiovascular triggers are poorly understood,” Professor Hoy said.

“The new research centre will generate information to fill those knowledge gaps, and result in improved kidney disease detection and care.”

UQ secured 77 NHMRC research grants today. The full list is here (Grant Announcement 17 October 2014).

UQ Provost and acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Max Lu congratulated all researchers involved in the successful grant applications.

“Whether they are young researchers with prospects of influencing the future of health care, established experts going from strength to strength, or senior researchers and clinicians leading a major project, all are extremely dedicated to delivering outcomes that will benefit individuals and society,” Professor Lu said.

“Those involved in Australia’s first Chronic Kidney Disease Centre for Research Excellence will apply their proven research excellence to address a health problem that carries immense social and economic implications for communities and the nation.

“Better health is the first target of health and medical research, but UQ is also conscious of the tremendous associated opportunities that our researchers enable when they contribute to Australia’s $4 billion health and medical exports sector.”

UQ won seven NHMRC Career Development Fellowships, worth a total of more than $3 million. Recipients include:

  • Dr Genevieve Healy in the School of Population Health, whowill build on her internationally-recognised work on prolonged sitting – known as “the new smoking”;
  • Dr Scott Beatson, of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, who will investigate bacterial pathogenomics: whole-genome sequencing to investigate infection transmission, pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance;
  • Dr Muhammad Shiddiky at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, who will develop accurate technologies for the early detection of circulating tumour cells in cancer patients.

Four Early Career Fellowships awarded to UQ will fund biomedical researchers to work overseas for two years before they return to UQ for a further two years of research. The recipients include:

  • Dr William Harrison from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and Dr Anthony Raphael from the School of Medicine, who will go to the Harvard Medical School, USA;
  • Mr Mitchell Sullivan from the Mater Research Institute-UQ, who will go to the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden;
  • Dr Timothy Kidd from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, who will go to Queen's University Belfast, UK.

Eight of UQ’s 61 project grants were for more than $1 million, and another seven for more than $900,000.

 UQ researchers who secured two project grants as first-named chief investigator included:

  • Professor David Craik, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
  • Professor David Evans, UQ Diamantina Institute
  • Professor David Fairlie, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
  • Dr Ben Hogan, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
  • Professor Greg Monteith, School of Pharmacy
  • Dr Enzo Porrello, School of Biomedical Sciences
  • Dr Trent Woodruff, School of Biomedical Sciences
  • Professor Naomi Wray, Queensland Brain Institute

Media: Carolyn Varley, communications@uq.edu.au,  0413 601 248